CAPE TOWN– National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has announced that the State of the Nation Address (SONA), which President Jacob Zuma was to have delivered to a joint session of Parliament on Thursday, has been postponed.

SONA will no longer take place as scheduled, Mbete told a media briefing outside Parliament on Tuesday, adding that a new date would be announced soon.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) reported that opposition parties, especially the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), had promised to do everything to stop the president from delivering the address.

The Speaker of the National Council of Provinces, the upper chamber of Parliament, Thandi Modise, said they realised that insisting on SONA on Thursday would not serve any purpose.

The presiding officers of the two chambers of Parliament had approached President Zuma to postpone the speech to allow room for the creation of a more conducive environment in Parliament.

We met the President today and he was already writing to us asking to postpone. We want a conducive political environment We have been dismayed at anarchy of the past four years. Developments this year have caused us great concern Mbete said.

In taking their decision, Mbete said Parliament had looked realistically at developments that had taken place in the past week.

Last week, Mbete announced that plans to hold SONA were set to go ahead.

Meanwhile, Communications Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said the postponement of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) would not impact on service delivery by the gopvernment.

The SONA is usually an opportunity for the President to outline the country’s performance for the past year and plans for the year ahead. It also outlines government’s programme of action for the year.

In an earlier statement, the Presidency said President Zuma had written to Mbete and Modise requesting the postponement of the joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, due to certain developments which make it not conducive to successfully hold the sitting and deliver the SONA.

The Presiding Officers have acceded to the President’s request, the Presidency said.